Production of bioethanol from biomass of microalgae Dunaliella tertiolecta

Abstract Biofuel production from microalgae biomass appears as a promising long term alternative. Dunaliella tertiolecta is a microalgae with high tolerance to salinity, temperature, and light, making it relatively easy to grow. The aim of this study was to establish a pilot-scale culture to evaluate the biomass yield and bioethanol production. The cell culture of D. tertiolecta was started in 20 ml tubes and escalated to 20 L containers. The biomass yield was 0.153 g L-1 of dry basis (db) and its characterization showed protein (37% db) as major component followed by carbohydrates (35.6), lipids (13% db) and ash (6.5%). The carbohydrate fraction was composed of starch (27.1% db) and fiber (8.5 %) and its neutral sugar characterization yield glucose (91% molar). The main components of the lipid fraction were linolenic and palmitic acids. The biomass was subjected to an acid pre-treatment for the saccharification of complex carbohydrates, and the hydrolyzed biomass was fermented by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It was possible to produce 0.615 ml g-1 of ethanol. In conclusion, D. tertiolecta has the potential for bioethanol production, making it a promising option for the biofuels future.

Keywords biofuels, microalgae, bioethanol, fermentation, composition.

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